From Script to Stage is a play development program established by Arts at the Palace to support local and regional artists.
Since the inception of Arts at the Palace, the support of new works has been a priority. Thus far, we have developed and presented several staged readings and productions of original works to our audiences.
For our 2020 program, we invited playwright Donna Hoke to Arts at the Palace for a four-week summer residency to engage community members in the development of her play Hearts of Stone.
Due to COVID-19-related issues, Donna’s residency was redesigned into a remote format. Arts at the Palace developed a virtual production of Hearts of Stone with Donna and an innovative creative and technical team and ensemble of actors.
Hearts of Stone was a collaboration between the Women’s Theatre Festival of Raleigh, NC, and Arts at the Palace in Hamilton. We offer special thanks to Kyle Bass for serving as Artistic Advisor for this project.
A ghost story, a love story, and a call to action
Lydia Stokes is dreaming about dead psych patients…while she’s awake. She believes they need her help; her husband believes she’s out of her mind. Is there any way they can both be right?
HEARTS OF STONE, a play written by Arts at the Palace’s 2020 From Script to Stage playwright-in-residence Donna Hoke and directed by Willow Jade Norton, will stream live during the WTFringe 2020/2020 Women’s Theatre Festival.
Friday, July 24th at 7:30 PM EST
Saturday, July 25th at 3:30 PM EST
Audience members of Friday’s performance are invited to a virtual talkback with Donna Hoke directly following the livestream production to meet Donna, ask questions about the play, and discuss the development of the project by co-produced by Arts at the Palace and Women’s Theatre Festival.
Go to twitch.tv/wtheatrefestivalnc to watch.
WTFringe is unticketed and donation-based. Suggested donation $10 per show. Please make your donation at Paypal.me/wtfestivalnc and note the show title (Hearts of Stone) in the memo. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the scholarship funds of Arts at the Palace and Women’s Theatre Festival.
Note: A recording of the play will be available to watch on Vimeo July 26-27 on-demand for $10. Check back for here for details when the video is posted.
About playwright Donna Hoke
Donna’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill and Princess Grace finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo’s Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation.
Donna also serves on the Dramatists Guild Council, is an ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, blogger, moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook, New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; children’s and trivia book author; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. Speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, the Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been seen on #2amt, howlround, The Dramatist, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, Workshopping the New Play (Applause, 2017), and at donnahoke.com.
Melinda Capeles (Dummy/Reporter #2)—Melinda Capeles is a performing artist whose talents range from dancing, singing, and acting to aerial arts, clowning, and combat. This two-time Artie Award-winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (2015 Stompin’ at the Savoy), and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (2019 La Lupine: My Life, My Destiny) has performed in Buffalo with multiple theater companies such as Irish Classical Theatre, Theatre of the Youth, Road Less Travelled, 710 Main, Subversive Theatre, Raices, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Ujima and Paul Robison Theatre. Currently, she has been an acting coach for St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, where she has embraced being hard of hearing, and her respect for deaf culture has grown by ten fold.
Steve Copps (DeGaulle/Cosgrove/Bureaucrat #2)—WTF Debut! Regional credits: ASSASSINS, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, FLOYD COLLINS, FUN HOME, INTO THE WOODS, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, ONCE, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGH-TIME, THE FULL MONTY, THE LAST FIVE YEARS, THE LONESOME WEST, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, THE TOXIC AVENGERS, THE WILD PARTY, and WEST SIDE STORY. Love to Kelly, Noah, and Milo!
Chris Corporandy* (Doomsday/Armstrong/Jack Hellam/Reporter #1)—Chris Corporandy is a Detroit-based actor and teacher. He originated the role of Billy in Detroit Public Theater’s commission of Noah Haidle’s Birthday Candles, which you should look for on Broadway when same-room theater happens again. He has coached dialects in several U.S. theaters, and is developing an acting curriculum at College for Creative Studies. CHris is certified in Knight-Thompson Speech Work and holds an MFA and BFA in Acting from Hilbury Rep and NYU/Tisch.
Josie DiVincenzo* (Lydia)—Josie’s credits include roles in theater, prime time TV, and film throughout Los Angeles and now, Buffalo. Recently seen in the acclaimed God of Carnage at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY, and What I Thought I Knew at the Jewish Repertory Theatre of WNY. Josie is an adjunct professor of acting Niagara University, coaches actors privately, and is the recipient of Outstanding Actress Awards (Artie, The Best of WNY, Buffalo 48hr.).
Phil Knoerzer (Roy)—I’m a graduate of Buffalo State College and have spent over thirty years in many productions on nearly every stage in Buffalo as actor and director. I’ve had the tremendous good fortune to work with some of the most talented theatre professionals anywhere. I salute them all here, and add my gratitude, respect and love.
Jennel Pruneda (Lizley/Alvarez/Bureaucrat #1)—Jennel Nadine Pruneda is overjoyed to be part of this virtual production. From San Anotnio, Texas, she graduated with her BFA in Theatre Performance from Niagara University. Her credits include Charlotte’s Web (Charlotte), Urinetown (Little Beck Two Shoes), and Ordinary Days (Deb), for which she earned a nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical in Buffalo, NY. She now works as a theatre teacher in Texas, bringing the arts to a new generation.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:
ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION
AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS
AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS
through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.
Kyle Bass, Artistic Advisor
Aaliya Buchanan, Assistant Stage Manager
Elizabeth Douglas, Arts at the Palace Co-Producer
Erin Fannin, Stage Manager
Donna Hoke, Playwright
Kyle LoConti, Associate Director
Madison McAllister, Assistant Creative Technical Director
Willow Jade Norton, Creative Technical Director
Ali Ray, Streaming Technical Director
Arts at the Palace and the Hearts of Stone team would like to acknowledge and thank Kyle Bass (Artistic Advisor) for his guidance and expertise, especially in the initial stages of this project.
The Hearts of Stone team would like to acknowledge and thank Chelsea Russell (Arts Administration Intern, WTF), Rowen Haigh (WTFringe Manager/WTF Liaison), and Johanna Maynard Edwards (Executive Artistic Director, WTF) for their helpful collaboration with this production.
The Hearts of Stone Team would like to thank Corrine Bass for her work with CaptionPoint, providers of captioning for this production.